Owner’s Log: 2015 Ford F-150 Lariat (12/2016 – 3/2017)

OwnersLog2

Wow, what a quarter!  I think it’s the most miles I’ve put on a vehicle in 3 months in a LONG time.  The F-150 was driven quite a bit, but no real hauling.  One service visit for an oil change and warped front rotors was the only stop in what was a commute-filled winter.  Read on for more details

Stats:

Time Period: 12/21/2016 – 3/20/2017
Miles Driven: 4,098 / 12,980 (this update / total) (2,411 in previous update)
Average MPG: 17.7 mpg (reported by on-board computer)
Avg MPG for Year: 17.7 (hand-calculated)

Costs:

Maintenance Costs: $0
Repairs: $0.00
Total Cost (non-fuel): $0.00

Services Performed:

  • 3/1/2017 – Oil change, tire rotation, replaced wiper blades, turned front rotors

Summary:

The commuting this winter, while definitely not easy – the Washington Beltway is always congested – gave me a significant bump in fuel economy.  The truck had plenty of time to warm up, and when the traffic wasn’t all stop-and-go, the EcoBoost engine was coasting a lot, which is what I attribute the increased efficiency to.  Cold temperatures and rain kept me off my motorcycle, and the F-150 was plenty happy to be my chariot to work and back.

All that beltway driving had a side effect, though.  As I reported earlier, the front rotors had begun to warp, and it just got worse over this past season.  I believe that using Adaptive Cruise Control in erratic traffic patterns on the highway was the main cause of this malady.  Hitting my limit for shaking and the slow-speed metallic noise (kind of like a squeak), I took the truck to Koons Ford of Silver Spring.  JD, my service advisor, was more than happy to lend me a 2015 Escape for a couple of days while his technicians turned the rotors and made sure that the noise was gone.  I’m not typically a fan of turning rotors, but with a $0 cost for the job, I’m a happy camper.  We’ll see how long they last before the vibration returns.  While the truck was in the dealer’s care, I had them perform the 15,000 mile service (my 2nd free service included in the pre-paid maintenance package I purchased with the truck), which included an oil change, tire rotation, and replacing the wiper blades.

Another service issue cropped up in late December of 2016, but it was one I took care of at home.  The dual-panel moonroof began making a popping noise right before a Christmas trip to Pennsylvania, and it only got worse during the 900 miles I drove during the trek.  Some perusing of my favorite F-150 forum delivered the answers I was looking for: there was a TSB related to knocking noises coming from the panoramic roof.  The TSB involves having a technician use isopropyl alcohol to clean the sides of the two glass panels and then applying a special grease to them.  This solution works for some forum members, while others applied a “slick tape” product to the leading edge of the fixed rear panel.  In my case, I tried Shinetsu grease (a Honda product I had lying around), and in the three months since doing the clean & grease, I haven’t heard a single noise from the roof.

Besides the commuting, I was able to finally put to use my new hitch-mounted carrier, when our area received a few inches of snow and ice in mid-March.  The carrier held my snow thrower snug, and was sure a lot easier than having to drive it up a steep ramp into the bed.  The truck’s all-terrain tires did extremely well, refusing to slip unless overcome by a deep stab at the throttle.  Unfortunately for me and other snow lovers, the Washington, D.C. area didn’t receive any other appreciable snowfall for the 2016-2017 winter, so I’m hoping we make up for it next year!

2015 Ford F-150 pulling stumpsIn early March, my mom asked me to help her remove several bushes from a garden in her back yard.  Knowing it was going to be a lot of work, I dug around each bush and used an axe to cut the biggest roots.  I then backed my truck up close to each bush and wrapped a tow strap around its trunk.  Putting the truck in 4-low, I walked each bush right out, easy breezy.  It was a fun afternoon, putting the 4WD and tow package to good use.

At the end of this quarter, I took a new position much closer to home – 7-10 miles each way, depending on the route I take, so I don’t expect a ton of miles to be accumulated during the next three months.

Dated Notes:

  • none

General Observations:

  • none

by John Suit

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